Once your baby is over a year old, she begins to understand more about life. She is probably able to follow simple instructions, such as, “Please put this on the shelf.” Most babies at this age enjoy reading books — especially books with pictures of real babies. You can use this love of books to help you encourage your baby to sleep through the night. You can do this by writing your baby his own book about sleep. Here's how:
Use poster board or very heavy paper. Your book should be large — 8 ½" X 11" or bigger. Tape the pages together with heavy tape.
Title your book All About [insert baby's name]. It will depict the story of your baby's life, with the focus on sleeping -- and/or weaning, if you want to use this idea to help wean baby from the breast or bottle. You can also use this idea to wean baby from the pacifier, or for that matter, to help baby adjust to any major change in her life, such as introducing a new pregnancy, or dealing with divorce.
Gather pictures of your baby right from the time of birth. Start with a shot of her as a newborn, and progress through her life, finishing up with those that feature actions and items in your bedtime routine. Pictures of baby breastfeeding, taking a bottle, using a pacifier, wearing pajamas, reading a book, lying in bed, and sleeping, are the most helpful. If possible, get a new roll of film and take photos of your baby during every step of your current bedtime routine — including several of him sleeping soundly. In one of the sleeping photos, have Mommy or Daddy in the background smiling and looking at baby.
Don’t make the book so long that your little one will lose interest, since the ending is, after all, the real goal of the book. You know your own baby and how long of a book she enjoys. The last section of the book will be your bedtime and sleep (and/or weaning) goals, outlined very clearly and specifically.
Read this book every night. (Your baby may like it so much that she wants to read it during the day, too — and that’s perfectly fine!) Talk about what you read. Help your little one do the things you talk about in the book.
As you use this homemade book, also put into action a complete sleep plan for your baby. Step-by-step, and night-by-night your baby will move closer to sleeping all night long.
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002